Center for Research Initiatives and Strategies for the Communicatively Impaired

Mission Statement

The mission of the Center for Research Initiatives and Strategies for the Communica- tively Impaired (CRISCI) involves a wide range of research and services aimed toward development of new methods for evaluation and rehabilitation of persons with a broad range of communicative disorders. Some of these disorders include hearing loss, stutter- ing, aphasia, voice disorders, laryngectomy, childhood articulation disorders, develop- mental language delays, etc.

Goals and Objectives

  • To increase the relevancy and quality of the research through the formation of inter- disciplinary research focus groups.
  • To expand the scope and number of research projects undertaken.
  • To enhance dissemination of the center's products through publications and presentations.


Extensive multidisciplinary research in the fields of auditory and speech-language pathology is carried out at The University of Memphis at the Center for Research Initia- tives and Strategies for the Communicatively Impaired (CRISCI), part of the School of Audiology and Speech-language Pathology. The CRISCT received designation as an Accomplished Center from the Tennessee Higher Education Commission in 1988.

Research Directions

The CRISCl's major research initiative directionsinclude normal and dysfluent speech; physiologic and acoustic methods for diagnosis of vocal pathologies; electrophysiologic studies of the central auditory nervous system; clinical expertise in speech-language pathology; vowel misarticulations in children; linguistic and cognitive abilities of chil- dren with language-learning disabilities; perceptual and acoustic analysis of neuromotor speech disorders in adults; hearing aid selection and evaluation procedures; histology of the aging larynx; and normal communication processes of older adults.

Program and Facility Enhancement

In 1994 the Department ofAudiology and Speech Pathology at The University of Mem- phis was renamed the School ofAudiology and Speech-Language Pathology, giving it the distinction of being the only independent school of its type in the nation. The CRISCI has greatly enhanced facilities and research support for faculty researchers in the School ofAudiology and Speech-Language Pathology including additional equipment, space, support personnel and the creation of several new laboratories. These enhancements resulted in increased external fundin 8, research productivity, faculty participation in professional conferences and research-related publications. These enhancements have also earned faculty researchers national and international recognition for their efforts.
Dr. Joel Kahane, professor of speech-language pathology and director of the Anatomical Sciences Laboratory, dissects a human larynx with the aid of a high resolution steromacroscope.

Research Accomplishments

Dr. Gerald Studebaker completed a seven-year Jacob K. Javits Neuroscience Investigator Award which acknowledges him as one of the leading scientists in the field of neurologi- cal and communicative sciences.

Dr. Robyn Cox served a three-year term as a member of the Executive Committee for the Committee on Hearing and Bioacoustics, an affiliate of the Commission on Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education of the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, D.C. This appointment provides an opportunity to influence position papers of the com- mission which are often used by members of Congress as indicators of the scientific community's position of technical issues affecting the public.

Dr, Robyn Cox was one of the few non-Veterans Administration employees in the nation to be awarded research support from the Veterans Administration for her research titled, "Measurement and Prediction of Benefit from Amplification,"

The Ear and Hearing journal presented Dr. Robyn Cox and colleagues the editor's award for scholarly contribution in a series of papers published over three years about the Connected Speech Test. Drs. Gerald Studebaker and Robyn Cox have received the university's Distinguished Research Award, and Dr. Joel Kahane received the university's Distinguished Teaching Award.

Drs. Robyn Cox, Joel Kahane, Alan Kamhi, Waiter Manning, Maurice Mendel and Gerald Studebaker are Fellows of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, a designation awarded to only about one percent of its members.

Educational and Professional Development

The CRTSCT conducted its first Memphis Research Symposium: Communication Disor- ders in African-American Children and Youth in 1994. This was made possible through a five-year leadership grant awarded to Drs. Karen Pollock and Alan Kamhi through the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitation Services.

Dr. David Wark established an innovative educational program for public school personnel through grants funded by the Tennessee Department of Education.


The Centers of Excellence Program and the CRISCI have been great successes. The center has begun achieving the goals it was designed to produce including taking good programs, making them better and giving them national and international prominence. Since its inception in 1984, the Centers of Excellence program has allowed faculty researchers in the School of Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology to create state- of-the-science research facilities. New methods have been created for the evaluation and rehabilitation of persons with a broad range of communicative disorders, and faculty researchers have received recognition for their work, both from the university community as well as the national and international scientific community.